Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aloo Gobi: North Indian style

One of my co-workers Parul is from North India - actually, about a quarter of the Indians in my department are from North India. The rest of mostly from South India.

Tonight's feature: Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potato dish)

I'm told that aloo gobi is the first thing that girls are taught to cook. This recipe is simple and hearty and will satisfy your cravings for Indian, even if you've never cooked Indian food before. It also happens to be my favorite meal ever [currently], so I begged Parul to show me how to make it.

This recipe calls for cumin seeds. Yes, the seeds. No, not the powder. You can go to Whole Foods and pay $5 for a small bag of cumin seeds that may be split. Or you could go to your local Indian shop and grab a giant bag of cumin seeds for about $4. Either way, just don't use the powder in this recipe!

Aloo Gobi - serves 4 (or 3 really hungry people)
2 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp red chili powder (or more if you like it spicy)
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 Tbsp coriander powder (powder, not seeds)
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2" cube of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 head of cauliflower, florets pulled* apart into 1" pieces
4 small potatoes, cut into 1/2" pieces (I used new potatoes)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (more if you like the vegetables crispier)
1/2 cup water

Heat 1/3 cup of the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok on medium-high temperature. When the oil is hot, turn down the setting to medium and add cumin seeds for about a minute. Add the turmeric and coriander powder and let cook for about another minute. Add the garlic and ginger and stir to avoid burning the garlic. When the fragrance is taking you back to India (about 3 minutes), add the onion. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and cook until the onion is browned. Add the rest of the oil and the cauliflower; cook for about another minute. Now add the potatoes, turmeric, and water. Place a lid over the skillet (or wok) and cook for about twenty minutes.

If you have a nice recipe for roti or a nice Indian friend who happened to bring over the dough for roti, now would be the perfect time to make about 4-6 roti. This would also go well with basmati rice or tortillas.

Stir every 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Serve with roti or rice.

*Parul's mother taught her to pull/break off the florets instead of cutting them. According to her mother, it helps with the flavor and texture. Because Parul and her mother do it this way, I will continue this tradition.

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